"I finally found a way to sleep in my office. Under the desk. I lie on my back. I tuck in the chair. I'm invisible."
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
Sleeping on the job (or, at least, talk of it) is all the rage in Major League Baseball these days, whether you’re Ken Griffey Jr. (allegedly) or Keith Hernandez.
Frankly, I’m feeling a bit peaked myself after an early morning wakeup call for the flight to K.C. But I’m supremely confident I can get through tonight’s activity without dozing off.
I am, however, a little worried about the Indians this week, only because the visitor’s clubhouse here at Kauffman Stadium has one of those Sharper Image/Brookstone/whatever electric massage chairs, and it looks overly inviting.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- Manny Acta said not to read anything into Luis Valbuena not starting again tonight. He said the plan was to get Valbuena a few days off last week to clear his head. But when Asdrubal Cabrera went down, Valbuena was needed at short. Still, Valbuena’s performance in those games didn’t improve his stock any, and Mark Grudzielanek is batting .326 with seven RBIs in his last 12 games. This is one of two spots in the lineup where the Indians must weigh the importance of the development of youth vs. the benefit of playing the hotter hand.
- The other is left field. Thanks to the unexpected Austin Kearns effect and his own struggles, Matt LaPorta’s playing time is trending in the wrong direction. He’s out of the lineup again tonight and has started just four of the nine games this month. LaPorta is 8-for-his-last-48 and has zero RBIs in his last 19 games (his only RBI came in the second game of the season).
- How about Russell the Muscle putting down a sac bunt Sunday? Branyan has only done that four times in his career. And then in the second inning tonight, he went out and hit his first homer of the season. Before the game, Acta said he wasn’t worried about Branyan’s slow start. “It’s a small sample,” Acta said. “He needs to get in a rhythm and have more games and at-bats before we make an assessment, because the power is still there.” Branyan proved him right soon thereafter.
- Before Branyan’s blast, the Indians were one of only three teams without a homer from the first base position this season. Baltimore and Colorado were the others.
- As you might have heard, the Blue Jays will have three home games against the Phillies moved to Philadelphia next month because of the G20 summit in Toronto. Apparently, Progressive Field was, at one point, discussed as a possible location for the games, because the Jays are also in Cleveland on that road trip. That’s a scenario that did not appeal to Vernon Wells. Wells summoned his inner Joakim Noah when he said, “But then we’d be in Cleveland for a week, and that’d be interesting.” Whatever, Vernon.
- Acta talked about the spin Mitch Talbot puts on his changeup, which makes it an effective pitch. “When he gets in a rhythm,” Acta said, “he can throw that pitch at any time.” Talbot survived on his changeup in Sunday’s win, and he’s now tied for second in the AL with four victories on the season. He’s second among AL rookies in innings (39 1/3) and third in ERA (3.43).
- The Indians’ 18 errors are tied for the third-fewest in the league.
- Left-hander Kelvin De La Cruz made his Double-A Akron debut Monday and gave up two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in six innings. He took the loss. De La Cruz allowed just three hits to left-handers in 33 at-bats in Kinston, and his WHIP in Class A was 0.88.
- Right-hander Joe Gardner is a name to watch in the lower levels. He moved up to Kinston and made his debut Sunday, going five scoreless innings in a win over Potomac. Gardner gave up two hits, walked two and struck out four. He’s struck out 42 batters in 30 innings combined this season between Lake County and Kinston.
- Chris Gimenez has a 10-game hitting streak for Columbus. He’s batting .421 (16-for-38) during the stretch. Shelley Duncan is batting .396 over his last 11 games.
- Michael Brantley has hit in eight straight games and 12 of 13 since getting sent down to the Clippers.
- Finally, my review of Sunday’s Pearl Jam show, since several of you asked: Strong, but not transcendent. Believe me, I have the utmost respect for PJ and their policy on shaking up the setlist and packing it with rarities night after night after night. However, in my opinion, this leaves the show without any discernible flow or theme or structure. Some, I’m sure, love this about Pearl Jam shows. But as much as I appreciate the element of surprise, I didn’t come out feeling as though the band had taken me to another place at any point. And while it might not be fair to PJ, their reputation precedes them and thus holds them to a higher standard than most. The band was tight, and Ed Vedder’s voice was as crisp as can be. So, again, believe me when I say it was a strong performance. But it was just not transcendent, and that’s the result on which all rock shows shall be judged. I give it a B+, thanks to extra credit points for “Leash,” “Smile” and “In Hiding,” in addition to two of my aforementioned Top Five (“Hail Hail” and “Given to Fly”).